Residents of Nyeri town demonstrate over poor roads

Hundreds of Nyeri town residents on Thursday demonstrated over deplorable state of roads, which has been worsened by the ongoing rains.

Waving placards and shouting anti county government slogans, the residents living in the nearby Ngangarithi estate, in protest, dug trenches on the roads to stop any movement of vehicles within the estate until their plight was addressed.

They accused the County Government of ignoring their sufferings despite allocating huge lumps of money for roads rehabilitation every year.

“The other day, a woman miscarried while on route to hospital on a bodaboda due to the rough ride occasioned by the poor state of our roads here”, complained area resident Simon Kariuki.

Besides roads neglect, the residents said the government has not been up to task in garbage collection leading to air pollution due to stench emanating from rotting garbage and clogging of sewer system.

The protests comes in the backdrop of a recent move by the government of launching Sh. 360 million roads improvement programme set to see rehabilitation of 240 km of weather roads.

The project dubbed 8 km Ward Flagship Programme, according to Governor Nderitu Gachagua, was to see the upgrading of eight kilometers of roads in each of the region’s 30 administrative wards.

According to him, the programme launched on November 11,2015 was set to take only four months to complete and aimed at increasing accessibility in rural areas by targeting deplorable and impassable roads to create a positive impact on economic growth.

However, a spot-check of Gitero shopping center where the project was launched, only a partly 140 meters has been done, where 2.5 kilometers was expected to be done to connect the shopping center with Giakanja-Muthuaini road, as residents accuse the government of shortchanging them.

“The Governor promised us that the contractor was to stay on site until the road was competed, but we were shocked to see the equipments gone the following day after the launch”, complained area resident, Wachira King’ori.

He accused the contractor of doing a shoddy job, as a section of the road dug during the launch was rendered impassable due to the ongoing rains making it a nightmare for children attending neighbouring Gitathini Primary School.

“This section of the road was left in a worse state than before and we feel cheated as nothing has been done since then despite the Governor’s assurance,” remarked King’ori.

Nonetheless, the acting County executive member in charge of Lands and Infrastructure Development, Robert Thuo said the project was still on course.

In his programme status report, Thuo said the work programme was interrupted by the heavy rains, but has so far resumed upon improvement of the weather.

He noted that so far a total of 37.5 km of roads have been graveled.

By Samuel Waititu